Ten Reasons to Attend U.S. Sailboat Show

Published on September 20th, 2017

Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck will soon be making his annual trip to the U.S. Sailboat Show on October 5-9 in Annapolis, MD. Chesapeake Bay sailing magazine SpinSheet explains why you should too.


1. To buy boats. Anyone who’s done his or her homework knows that there are deals to be had at the show on sailboats (monohulls and multihulls), dinghies, and inflatables. If it floats, there’s a boat show special, so make sure to do some preliminary research to get the deal done.

2. To buy gear. Show goers tote around bags of new foul weather gear, sailing shoes or gloves, lines, shackles, boat hooks, fenders—if it belongs on a boat and is portable, someone will buy it at the Sailboat Show and carry it up and down the docks, especially in the late afternoon before the show ends.

3. To rubberneck around. Make sure your neck is limber for show time, as there’s always a lot to turn your head quickly. We sailors are attracted to shiny new things that look great and make our sailing lives easier. So, start your exercises now by sitting up straight; look left and then right; nod yes slowly. Beware, once your neck feels limber and you find yourself walking the docks or the tents, rubbernecking happens. It inevitably leads to #1 and #2.

4. To try stuff on. Have you always liked a certain style of sailing shoe or offshore boot? Do you prefer long-fingered gloves? What do you look like in those sporty sunglasses? Can you pull off one of those floating Tilley hats? This is why you come to shows. You can touch and feel everything and try it on for size.

5. To forget the non-sailing world for a while. Painkillers: the signature cocktail made with Pusser’s Rum originated at the Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands (RIP!). Pusser’s of Annapolis sells gallons and gallons of that stuff at the show—and if you test one, you will understand the name. Caution: this may lead to #1 and #2 plus buyer’s remorse, so drink responsibly.

6. To remember sailing friends. Want to see your sailing friends from California, France, or Australia? At the SpinSheet booth (F5) we post a whiteboard for show goers to write their home ports on, and we are always amazed by how far they travel for Columbus Day weekend. The Sailboat Show is a rendezvous, a reunion, and a place to encounter great future sailing friends.

7. To see what’s new. Some sailors don’t intend to buy boats or gear; they just want the scoop. They want to know about the hottest electronics trends, even if they aren’t ready to upgrade. They want to board the hottest multihulls, even if they’re monohull sailors. Even those who aren’t trend-setters want to know the trends. See #3 about things shiny and new.

8. To learn new tricks. We know you got into sailing because you love the outdoors, but at this show, it may pay to step inside from time to time and attend one of dozens of free and paid seminars on anything from diesel engine troubleshooting to provisioning your cruising boat. See the October issue and spinsheet.com for more.

9. To visit America’s Sailing Capital. Even if you learn nothing about George Washington’s time in what was briefly the capital of the United States, you have to admit that Annapolis, with its pretty white State House dome, colonial feel, and sailor-friendly watering holes is a warm, welcoming destination by land and by boat. See the October SpinSheet for our “Visit Annapolis” section and click to spinsheet.com/annapolis-like-a-local.

10. Why wouldn’t you? You’re a sailor who’s read this far… why would you miss the greatest show on earth? See you there.

MORE: To read the Show Program… click here.

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